Monday, January 20, 2014

Cabin Fever

There are three things that keep me out of the mountains in the winter:

Utah isn't exactly known for its lovely winters.  It varies from bitter-cold on one extreme to slightly-less bitter, kill-people-with-asthma-by-pollution on the other.  While going to the mountains is the perfect way to escape it, I'm often more prone to stay in bed than actually breath the smog between my apartment and car.

2- Cold
The bitter cold necessitates such a production in equipment--snowshoes, jackets, gloves, trekking poles, boots, etc.--that I rarely have the time to actually perform the ritual donning of my winter gear.

To be honest, there has rarely been a time when I've had the entire litany of gear within my possession; consequently, I've had to "borrow" gear from my family or friends to perform the winter gear donning ritual.  It's not fun.  Although, after receiving a pair of gloves for Christmas, I'm lacking but one thing: actual boots.  I've previously resorted to triple-socked feet in my normal waterproof Oboz hiking boots, topped off with gaiters.  Once I get actual boots, my retinue will be complete.

3.- Time
Time is the biggest problem with getting outdoors in the winter.  When the sun sets at 5PM, getting outdoors needs to be a planned-upon, deliberate thing.  My ventures into the mountains tend to be a little more like jazz: improvised, sudden, and unintelligible.

In warm months, the majority of my hiking is done in free afternoons following school or work.  That's plain out in the Winter.

These factors conspire to keep me grounded in my apartment, with but a computer, an XBox, and hundreds of books to hold my attention.  (My mildly sarcastic girlfriend would, at this point, interject her favorite pet name for me: poverino.)  Given my ADD tendencies and the departure from my normal, outdoor-centric lifestyle, I'm always left with a pretty intense case of cabin fever.

Cabin fever, while somewhere short of an actual disorder, is backed up by science.  But I don't really need the officials to back up what I already know.  Everyone around me gets irrational, agitated, irritating, and belligerent.  These symptoms are a direct result of their exposure to someone with cabin fever.  They should really stop hanging around me outside of Summer.

Here's hoping that when I move to LA in a few months, I'll be able to get into nature often year-round.